This life man, it's no joke. I have to keep remembering that Father never promised us a rose garden. Quite the opposite in fact. No matter how closely you're following: trouble. That's what he promised. Trouble and new mercies everyday. They're sisters, Trouble and Mercy. Never one without the other, thank goodness. We've felt them both in spades these last months. And I've been trying to keep my eye out for Mercy when Trouble is hanging off my back and driving me nuts. Trying just as hard to not keep a keen eye for Trouble when Mercy is making my day sweet because nothing is a Mercy buzz-kill like a Trouble sighting.
These days, they are so full. Hours are spent distracting Maggie with board books with one hand while I shoot food into her mouth with a syringe. She cries and I wonder for sec how I'll pay for this later, what weird attitudes about food she'll develop that will have to be therapized out in her teen years. But then I remember that she's too small to really know and remember and by the time she's old enough to begin collecting memories, she'll be healthy and the syringe will be a lost in the funhouse that is repressed memories. Until then, she's stubborn, but I'm stubborn-er and it's survival.
I have committed to myself that these lovely afternoons while she is napping and on which Lulu is often at school, depending on how much fight I woke up with in me, I will spend time at rest. Which often looks like napping, but really I'm laying down and talking with Father. We've had sweet times He and me, reading through my Bible study, chatting, sharing a cuppa. It's becoming a highlight. And we've worked a few things out:
~This work, it's Kingdom work. And, as such, it's going to come under attack. It's going to be ugly and expensive and it'll probably break all my nails, but it won't break my spirit because it's the work Father has called me to, so He's providing. In lovely and surprising ways.
~Where I've gone very wrong is self-medicating myself through these long, sometime brutal days with food. Have done that my whole life and am doing it still. And it's sin, plain and simple and it needs to stop. Because if I really believe that my body was created to be a temple and if I believe further that this work I'm doing (wife-ing, mothering, friend-ing, etc...) is my Kingdom job, then stuffing it full of junk, making it lethargic and slow, wearing a cloak of shame as the numbers rise, wearing a cloak of shame at all, it's the opposite. It's damaging to the work. And if I do the math, then anything that's hindering the work is sin. Black and white. Calling it anything else is the devil's kool-ade and that's one thing I'm not putting in my mouth.
~Women have this incredible capacity for circling the wagons. They make meals and text encouragement and offer to pick up kids. This circling? This linking arms? It might be amongst the most vital Kingdom work around. It matters big. And if you're making it your work then you are doing right.
This post...I've written it dozens of time in my head as I've muddled through the last year and now I'm saying it poorly, but perhaps being the most eloquent in the room is less important than being the most honest right now. And if so, then let me say it plainly: it's hard. And I've chosen wrong ways of coping often. But where there is Trouble, there is also Mercy and as long as they come packaged together it's all manageable. If you're in a Trouble place, court Mercy on bended knee. And while you're at it, invite Thankfulness and Humility to the party. If you're in a Mercy place, be vigilant for Trouble, but take Service's hand and go looking for someone who needs Father in flesh today. Always, always go forth and do this work with the most grace and brokenness you can muster up. It's precious, this work we're doing. It matters.
This is me being real. Wondering what I can do to encourage you in your work today? And eager for Lu to hop off the bus in an hour since last I saw her she was screaming in her teacher's arms while reminding me of her grievances against Kindergarten. Namely, the boys being "incest" (obsessed) with fighting and her having to color inside the lines. Not telling what's going to hop off bus 22 later, but pretty sure I'm going to get an earful. Kindergarten is her Goliath, she reminded me this morning. Indeed it is. Food is mine. What's yours?